Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has lost the office suite his staff tried so hard to keep to Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican’s office confirmed Friday.
As CQ Roll Call reported earlier this week, Heller’s staff had been using stalling tactics to prevent more senior member offices from viewing the space, which includes an unusually large personal office. Several complaints had been lodged with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the aggressive behavior of Heller staffers through the course of the months-long lottery process.
Heller had inherited his space from former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., but at the beginning of each Congress, junior member offices are available for more senior members. Moran is 74th in overall Senate seniority; while Heller is only 85th.
Though other offices encountered unhelpful staffers and apparent ruses for why the office suite couldn’t be seen in its entirety, Moran’s staff reported a pleasant experience when they visited this week.
"We've selected Sen. Heller's office. His staff was great to work with and showed Sen. Moran and our staff their suite multiple times," Moran spokeswoman Garrette Silverman said via email.
Each office in the lottery has a 24-hour window to decide whether to move. In a particularly fractious exchange with the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Heller staffers cracked jokes about a potential primary challenger in the event Chambliss, who has since announced his retirement, took the Russell suite.
The episode caused some heartburn for Heller, with Nevada Democrats seizing on the issue as a scandal for the freshman senator’s office.
Now, Heller's staff will have to tour other offices to find a new space before the lottery process ends in May. But they’ll have to wait their turn. Ten senators are ahead of them in the lottery.